taha.kerar

Taha Kehar

A blogger on social events and has previously worked as Assistant Editor for a media magazine. He is currently pursuing Law Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He tweets @TahaKehar.

My love affair with language (barriers) in Beijing

Beijing is a heady place for a tourist who can’t speak Mandarin. This was the uncontrived truth that surfaced during long conversations with friends and extensive Google searches on what to expect from the metropolis. I had been warned that the city’s sights, sounds, smells and flavours would not appeal to me unless the pull of a common language could bind me to them. As my trepidation grew into sheer terror, I contemplated the possibility of learning a few words in Mandarin to placate my fears and fit into my new orbit. Before I had boarded the six-hour flight from Karachi ...

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Will Chabahar Port reap greater benefits than Gwadar Port?

A whiff of competition is in the air. It is swirling through every nook and cranny and drawing battle lines in its wake. The buzzword on the tip of everyone’s tongue is Chabahar Port, the distant and impoverished cousin of Gwadar Port. The frightening mix of antagonism and optimism has paved the way for increased polarisation. At this stage, our vision of both projects and their intentions have been blinkered. Sceptics believe the long-awaited trilateral agreement among Iran, Afghanistan and India to develop Chabahar Port poses a threat to efforts to boost the untapped potential of Gwadar Port. On the other ...

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Is battling women harassment a man’s duty as well?

A woman clambers aboard a crowded coach, negotiates her way through the jostling throng of people and manages to find a seat. She plumps herself on the vacant place and clenches her hand around her purse. You are sitting on the opposite seat that directly faces her. However, as she fishes out a ballpoint from her purse and begins writing in her notebook, you treat her like just another stranger on the bus, trying to make her way home. Minutes later, something stirs within you. A deep disgust wells up in your heart as you notice a man sitting next to ...

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Five years on: We still await a verdict on Salmaan Taseer’s battle against blasphemy laws

Any discourse on slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination begins and ends with a trenchant critique of the country’s blasphemy law. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two and dealing with both simultaneously has become an inescapable reality. The close association between the death of a governor and the discriminatory nature of a law remains painfully relevant because it evokes dark memories of violence and bigotry. Taseer’s assassination strikes a raw nerve and reminds the world of an injustice that put the cuffs on a Christian girl who had allegedly passed derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet (PBUH). It also plucks ...

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Round one: Imran Khan versus Asma Jahangir

When a minor political disagreement turns into an acrimonious battle of nerves, the stage is set for a senseless blame game. Beyond this point, the purpose is no longer to find a solution to the issue at hand. On the contrary, it becomes a matter of settling scores and, at best, winning. The war of words between PTI chief, Imran Khan, and prominent lawyer and former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president, Asma Jahangir, last week offers a glaring testament of this belief. Unfortunately, not all battles can be won through veiled assaults and criticism. Silent tussle The conflict brewed against the backdrop ...

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Spare me the last grenade

Spare me the last grenade, My city bleeds like an ailing heart.   Spare me the last grenade, My mind is numbed by the whispers of death.   Spare me the last grenade, My dreams are shattered with every explosion.   Spare me the last grenade, My hopes are foiled by relentless fear.   Spare me the last grenade, My eyes cannot see a mother’s pain and grief.   Spare me the last grenade, My innocence is not prepared for death.   Read more by Taha here or follow him on Twitter @TahaKehar  Join us on Facebook for blog updates and ...

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Whose face are we trying to save?

Bina Shah has raised some pertinent points in her op-ed for The Express Tribune. Refusing to accept the allegations levelled against Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, she implies that Rukhsana is being threatened by her family to claim financial compensation from the documentary film-maker. More significantly, Bina asserts that this reality has been obscured by the elite-bashing and a more cohesive approach is needed to understand this issue. Ironically, the op-ed has been criticised for propagating the same elitist narrative that it condemns. This reflects the inconvenient truth about our nation being constantly obsessed with defending the underdog rather than objectively examining the facts. While ...

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Veena to the bone

At the risk of allowing this piece to become a shrewd and predictable critique of the ghairat brigade, I must admit that the response shown towards Veena Malik’s nude photographs for FHM India is preposterous. Much to our consternation, issues of this nature continue to plague Pakistan and accentuate the differences between the fairly open-minded and the overtly strict right-wing. Only last year, Veena was made an object of scrutiny when her conduct on the Indian reality TV show Bigg Boss, was criticized. The fact that the issue has generated a comparable response serves to highlight two critical facts. 1) We, as ...

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Notes from the underground: ‘Most people don’t listen to folk rock’

The underground music scene in Pakistan is replete with an array of diverse talent. Bilal Mehmood and Mohammed Abbas bin Yaser are testament to this facts. The enterprising duo has proved themselves worthy of accolades by winning the online cover-song competition organised through the official website of Yusuf Islam (aka Cats Stevens). Participants were required to upload their own renditions of Yusuf Islam’s songs on his official website and the popularity of each entry was gauged through Facebook likes. The duo covered “The first cut is the deepest” – one of Cat Stevens’ most popular songs from the 60s – and ...

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‘Shisha is too fun to ban’

A study published in 2008 revealed that there is a link between heavy hookah smoking and incidence of cancer. And yet, the Sindh Assembly’s decision to outlaw the smoking of shisha has been met with much skepticism. Twenty year old Hassan* says: “It is rubbish. They should ban cigarette smoking first!” But will arresting the frequency of cigarette smoking make the ban on shisha more acceptable? “Banning cigarette smoking will show that the government has a clear policy against smoking,” Hassan asserts. “Prohibiting shisha will only affect a small portion of the general population.” The question of acceptability looms like a specter, putting a match ...

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